Mark 10:31

But many who are first now will then be last, and the last will be first.”

sticking to business
no R&D invested
is a quick ride to obsolescence

there is no holding on
when a pendulum reversed
our momentum flies on to nothing

we swing back to a previous setting
or anticipate a next swing
acrobatedly placed for landing

pumping a swing
for a next launch
takes all our attention

first to last
rhythms our way
linear to circular

and back again
and forth again
in joy always

Small words are often the pivot of a sentence. One example is the indiscriminate use of the particular article “the” when all that can really be said is “a” or “an” when talking about an incident or experience. Our tendency to universalize gets us in trouble.

Here is Bratcher327 on the very first small word in this verse:

…as [Vincent] Taylor says, it is impossible to dogmatize whether the particle is here adversative ‘but’ or explanatory ‘for’. The interpretation of the saying is vitally affected by the question. Almost without exception commentators and translations adopt the adversative meaning ‘but’; Lagrange, however, understands it to mean ‘for’ and thus interprets the saying.

A second small word is the next one, “many”. The Jesus Seminar reports:

Mark has taken the edge off the aphorism by limiting the reversal to “many” of the first. In this he is followed by Matt 19:30. The Markan version drew a gray designation because it has been softened, while the categorical form in Matt 20:16 was designate pink as something Jesus might plausibly have said. ~Funk94

Rather than see this as a warning (‘but’) or something generalized, so maybe a camel can get through a needle’s eye, the stronger and more parabolic assertion reads as a more complete conclusion to this scene. — For the first will be last; and the last first. End of a resurrection story that follows living, suffering, and dying.

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